Seattle Pacific University Donates Furniture to Labateyah Youth Home

Richard Walker, Indian Country Today, 9/16/14


Labateyah Youth Home, operated by the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, received a donation of 25 sets of lightly used dormitory furniture from Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington.

University building maintenance personnel delivered the donated furniture to the youth home in Seattle’s Crown Hill neighborhood. Labateyah provides transitional housing, rehabilitative services, and counseling for homeless youth of all backgrounds.

“We hold our hands up in gratitude to Seattle Pacific University,” foundation chairman Jeff Smith, Makah, said in a press release. “SPU’s donation came at just the right time. Our old furniture was just not serviceable and we were despairing of finding replacements.” He said Seattle Pacific University’s gift will help Labateyah to continue providing essential services to the region’s homeless youth.

Labateyah Youth Home Manager Jenna Gearhart added, “Labateyah Youth Home is currently under-funded and we were very concerned about how we could replace our unusable furniture. Seattle Pacific University’s gift is wonderful. You should see the residents’ smiles.”

Labateyah means “transformer” in the Lushootseed language. Labateyah Youth Home was founded in 1992 by Native activist Bernie Whitebear, and provides a nurturing dormitory-style home for people ages 18 to 23. Residents can stay for up to 18 months and are provided with access to medical care, assistance with school placement, life skills training, and career counseling. Coaches work with residents to develop personal plans for self-sufficiency.

In addition to residents’ rooms, Labateyah Youth Home has a classroom, gym, music room, dining room and kitchen.

According to the foundation, Labateyah Youth Home has served more than 1,900 residents, of which 1,200 have gone on to permanent housing, since it was founded.

The youth home is located in a three-story building built in 1930; it was originally Crown Hill Hospital and is considered a local landmark by the neighborhood association. Friends of Labateyah, a group of professionals and community members, was formed to assist the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation in determining potential land, building and zoning improvements for the youth home site.